What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain refers to persistent pain that lasts for weeks, months, or even years. It can stem from various conditions or injuries and affects millions of people worldwide.

It manifests as a consistent sensation of discomfort, ranging from mild to severe, and can include sensations like aching, shooting, or burning.

How common is it?

Chronic pain is alarmingly prevalent, impacting people of all ages and backgrounds. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 21% of U.S. adults (51.6 million people) experienced chronic pain in 2021.

Do you have chronic pain?

You might have chronic pain if you experience prolonged feelings of:

  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Shooting
  • Squeezing
  • Stiffness
  • Stinging
  • Throbbing

If this sounds like you, your provider will want to know where your pain is, the intensity level, how often it occurs, how much its affecting your life, what makes it worse/better, information about your stress/anxiety, and any illness or surgical history.

How to manage chronic pain?

Chronic pain cannot always be cured, but it can be managed. Some ways to manage are:

  • Stress Management: Stress exacerbates chronic pain, so adopting stress-relief techniques like mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing can help alleviate symptoms.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity, tailored to individual abilities, can improve flexibility, strength, and overall well-being, thereby reducing chronic pain.
  • Diet: Consuming a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help mitigate chronic pain symptoms.
  • Sleep Hygiene: Quality sleep is crucial for pain management. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a conducive sleep environment, and practicing relaxation techniques can promote better sleep and alleviate pain.

What can you do about it?

Suffering from chronic pain can feel overwhelming. But you aren’t alone. Join our virtual Chronic Pain Management class that we host in partnership with MyHealthyVT. Learn more and sign up for the next class here.